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Model: LEEROY STAGGER
Release Date: 13 September 2019
2019 album. Folk. Also available on CD.
Following 2017’s critically acclaimed ‘Love Versus’ album, Leeroy Stagger has emerged with ‘Strange Path’, his most ambitious and philosophical creation yet an album on which he has surrounded himself with some of the best players in the business.
To say that Canadian musician Leeroy Stagger’s life journey has followed a strange path would be a bit of an understatement. 17 years as a singer-songwriter and 10 years sober, with two kids, a home in Lethbridge, Alberta, and a world-class recording studio to go with it, he’s far removed from the hard-living twenty-something who started on this musical path.
The name Strange Path applies as much to Leeroy’s unexpected route from the British Columbia punk scene to southern-Alberta singer songwriter as it does to the album’s own evolution. Following from 2017’s Love Versus, itself a creative re-emergence after a years-long fog of anxiety and depression, Strange Path is the end result of a triple-album’s worth of scrapped demos, and a spirit-reviving retreat inwards. It’s also Stagger’s most ambitious and philosophical creation yet, a veritable self-help book pulled from a lifetime of struggling towards the light and brimming with the hard-won joy at the heart of his recent renaissance. It’s an album full of sharp hooks and sharper insight, and the first single “Strange Attractor”’ rides that line right to the end.
“Nothing is permanent when you really stop and think,” says Leeroy. “The home we live in, the car we drive, the children we raise, the art we make and the skin that we’re in. It’s not forever, it’s barely real, and that’s ok to me because I’ve been shown the truth of it all. In seeing that it’s not that big of a deal, this has shown me how beautiful it all is. It’s precious, impermanent and beautiful. “Strange Attractor”’ is about the unseen nature of impermanence and the sacredness of the life we live.”
In making ‘Strange Path’, Stagger surrounded himself with some of the best players in the business, including drummer Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Elliot Smith, Los Lobos), longtime collaborator Tyson Maiko, Paul Rigby (Neko Case, Garth Hudson, Jakob Dylan), Ryland Moranz and Michael Ayotte. The album was mixed by five time Grammy winner Ryan Freeland (Ray Lamontagne, Bonnie Raitt, Rodney Crowell) Brad Barr of The Barr Brothers shared producer’s chair with Leeroy on four of the eleven tracks.
Love From Planet Gong: The Virgin Years 1973-75
Release Date: 27 September 2019
Curated by Steve Hillage and released with the full involvement of original members. Flying Teapot / Angel’s Egg / You / Shamal / BBC Radio 1 Sessions And Edinburgh Live / Paris Bataclan Live, 20th May 1973 / Roanne - Club Arc En Ciel Live, 17th Aug 1973 / London - Hyde Park Live, 28th June 1974 / London - The Marquee Club Live, 9th & 10th Sept 1975 / You (Quad mix).
Under the visionary guidance of Daevid Allen, Gong raised the bar for psychedelic rock in the 1970s. The first three albums Gong recorded for the Virgin label ‘Flying Teapot’, ‘Angel’s Egg’ & ‘You’ - introduced the listener to the invisible mythological universe of Pot Head Pixies, Zero The Hero, The Octave Doctors and The Good Witch Yoni. Featuring sublime virtuoso guitar from Steve Hillage, Gong’s intoxicating, space-rock inflected compositions such as “Radio Gnome Invisible” “The Isle Of Everywhere”, “Master Builder”, “Inner Temple/Outer Temple”, “Shamal”, “Flying Teapot” and “Oily Way” are all an absolute joy to experience, re-mastered by original engineer Simon Heyworth and sounding as crisp and inventive as ever.
Released to coincide with Gong’s 50th Anniversary, the Box Set covers the band’s classic years in a stunning package that includes: their seminal first four Virgin studio albums plus bonus tracks; previously unreleased, multi-tracked full gigs, the complete John Peel Sessions from 1973 and 1974; previously unreleased quad Pye and Westlake mixes of ‘You’ re-formatted to 5.1 surround-sound, and artwork including rare and previously unseen work by the late Daevid Allen.
Notes by Gong archivist Jonny Greene of the Gong Appreciation Society and artwork including rare and previously unseen artwork by Daevid Allen. Also contains 64-page illustrated lyric booklet that includes Angel’s Egg’s famously quirky and informative ‘Blue Book’ and a new companion to Flying Teapot ‘Green Book’.
Feel The Noize - The Singlez Box
Release Date: 06 September 2019
This strictly limited edition box set comprises of 10 rare internationally released seven inch singles, including an extremely rare seven inch promo copy in a lift off lid box.
Slade were one of the biggest UK bands of the early 1970s, capitalising on the Glam Rock explosion of the time with outlandish clothes and a string of huge foot stomping singles - 12 consecutive Top 4 singles in the UK between 1971 & 1974, nine of which are featured in this seven inch single box set. They are all performed by the band’s classic lineup of Dave Hill, Don Powell, Noddy Holder And Jim Lea.
The roots of the band can be found as early as 1964 and in only two years the aforementioned ‘classic’ line-up were together. After several years on the circuit and a few name changes later the new decade saw a change in fortunes for the group once they had shed their brief ‘skinhead’ look. Their breakthrough hit “Get Down And Get With It” hit the UK Top 20 in the Summer of 1971 and after their next single “Coz I Love You” hit the UK top spot they never looked back and vied with T.Rex and David Bowie as the league leaders in the Glam Rock stakes.
Once their star began to fade in the mid-70s they continued to rock out, occasionally breaching the mainstream every now and then until the early 90s when frontman Noddy hung up his hat. The current line-up of the group still features original members Dave Hill and Don Powell. and continue to pump out the classics.
2. Take Me Bak ‘Ome / Wonderin’ Y (Germany)
3. Mama Weer All Crazee Now / Man Who Speeks Evil (France)
4. Gudbuy T’Jane / I Won’t Let It ‘appen Agen (Germany)
5. Cum On Feel The Noize / I’m Mee I’m Now And That’s Orl (Italy)
6. Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me / Kill ’em At The Hot Club Tonite (France)
7. My Friend Stan / My Town (Spain)
8. Everyday / Good Time Gals (Belgium)
9. Far Far Away / O.K. Yesterday Was Yesterday (France)
10. Night Starvation / When I’m Dancin’ I Ain’t Fightin’ (UK).
Model: ASHTON JONES PROJECT
Release Date: 13 September 2019
2019 debut album. Soul. Also available on Vinyl.
The Ashton Jones Project’ features some of the countries most talented and burgeoning musicians, who’s live performance credits include artists such as Cory Wong, Beverley Knight, Joss Stone & Pee Wee Ellis. The group is a hardworking, funky soul nine piece and ’Toast’ is a debut album filled with energy, humour and honesty and fronted by the inimitable presence of Ahston jones, who has justly been acclaimed as “One of the UK’s finest singers, a voice dripping with soul”.
Their hotly anticipated album ‘Toast’ has been 2 years in the making and features 11 tracks of original heartfelt goodness, it is a contemporary interpretation of classic soul, funk & jazz, commencing a run of original releases spanning 2019. What really impresses on 'Toast' though is the variety. Apart from the funk, the album boasts plenty of beautiful ballads and sweet mid-tempo items on which no expense has been spared on production.
Along with support slots for Grammy award winning ‘Shalamar’ and the legendary ‘Incognito’, The Ashton Jones Project has also appeared at a number of internationally recognised festivals including Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Ashtons’ voice has featured in 2 major TV adverts for Amazon UK and with his debut album he has arrived as a solo artist. The singles “Good Thing Guaranteed” and “Hard Work Dedication” have racked up over 100,000 streams in total, with plays on 6music and specialist soul stations.
Birth of Violence
Model: CHELSEA WOLFE
Release Date: 13 September 2019
2019 album. Also available on vinyl.
Chelsea Wolfe has always been a conduit for a powerful energy, and while she has demonstrated a capacity to channel that somber beauty into a variety of forms, her gift as a songwriter is never more apparent than when she strips her songs down to a few key components. As a result, her solemn majesty and ominous elegance are more potent than ever on ‘Birth of Violence’ her seventh album.
Her austere beginnings were gradually bolstered by electronics and filled out with full-band arrangements. The music became increasingly dense and more centered around live performances. Her latest album, ‘Birth of Violence’, is a return to the reclusive nature of her earlier recordings “I’ve been in a state of constant motion for the past eight years or so; touring, moving, playing new stages, exploring new places and meeting new people - an incredible time of learning and growing as a musician and performer,” Wolfe says of the era leading up to ‘Birth of Violence’. “But after a while, I was beginning to lose a part of myself. I needed to take some time away from the road to get my head straight, to learn to take better care of myself, and to write and record as much as I can while I have ‘Mercury in my hands,’ as a wise friend put it.”
‘Birth of Violence’ is the result of this step out of the limelight. The songs stem from humble beginnings - little more than Wolfe’s voice and her Taylor acoustic guitar. Her longtime musical collaborator Ben Chisholm recorded the songs on a makeshift studio and helped fill them out with his modern production treatments and the occasional auxiliary flourish from ongoing contributors Jess Gowrie (drums) and Ezra Buchla (viola). The album opens with “The Mother Road,” a harrowing ode to Route 66 that immediately addresses Wolfe’s metaphoric white line fever. It explains the nature of the record—the impact of countless miles and perpetual exhaustion—and the desire to find the road back home, back to one’s roots. Songs like “Deranged for Rock & Roll” and “Highway” offers parallel examinations on the trials and tribulations of her journeys while the ghostly “When Anger Turns to Honey” serves as a rebuttal to self-appointed judges.
“These songs came to me in a whirlwind and I knew I needed to record them soon, and also really needed a break from the road,” Wolfe says. “I’ve spent the past few years looking for the feeling of home; looking for places that felt like home. The result of that humble approach yields Wolfe’s most devastating work to date.
Model: BAT FOR LASHES
Release Date: 06 September 2019
2019 album. Also available on CD.
Bat For Lashes - aka Natasha Khan - releases her fifth studio album, entitled ‘Lost Girls’, and it is another brilliant full-length in Khan’s incredible, acclaimed discography, mixing sounds she’s always loved - heavy bass lines, synth arpeggios, Iranian pop beats, cascading choruses - with some of her finest songwriting to date. It’s an album full of romance, an homage to Los Angeles, to being a kid in the 80’s, to films that touched and changed her life.
‘Lost Girls’ sees Khan dreaming up her own fully formed parallel universe, creating an off-kilter coming of age film in which gangs of marauding female bikers roam our streets, teenagers make out on car hoods and a powerful female energy casts spells and leave clues for us to follow. Khan says: “The album is ‘The Bride’s [her last album] mischievous younger sister, widescreen in scope and bursting with Technicolour intensity. It’s an album for driving in the dark; holding hands at sunset; jumping off bridges with vampires; riding your bike across the moon.” The album is also a dreamlike world rife with female energy and populated by roaming gangs of female bikers.
Who Knows What The Day Will Bring?
Model: GERRY RAFFERTY
Release Date: 20 September 2019
The Complete Transatlantic Recordings 1969-71.
Whether recording as a solo performer, a member of Stealers Wheel or as one half of The Humblebums (the other half, being Billy Connolly), the late Gerry Rafferty was always a master craftsman, leaving behind a dazzling portfolio of songs headed by huge hits “Stuck In The Middle With You” and the equally timeless “Baker Street”. Although early success eluded him, it was during his time with the nominally folk-oriented Transatlantic label that Gerry learnt his craft, sharing space with Connolly on two Humblebums albums before the superb 1971 solo set ‘Can I Have My Money Back?’
In addition to every album track, stray B-side and remixed single, we’ve added a cache of previously-unreleased songs and alternative versions (including two early versions of “Who Cares”, a song that would later turn up in substantially different format on the second Stealers Wheel LP) taken from a bunch of multi-track masters that have been gathering dust in Transatlantic’s archives for the last fifty years.
With a host of hitherto-unheard songs and performances, the first-ever complete reissue of ‘Can I Have My Money Back?’ (previous attempts have substituted an unauthorised overdubbed “Mary Skeffington” in place of the original, far superior album version), ‘Who Knows What The Day Will Bring?’ is nothing less than a complete, unexpurgated document of Rafferty’s adventures in the recording studio between 1969 and 1971, with all tracks taken from the master tapes.
Model: LORD ECHO
Release Date: 13 September 2019
2019 album. Jazz/disco/soul/reggae.
The in-demand New Zealand native, producer and multi instrumentalist Lord Echo (aka Mike Fabulous) has been flexing his dual-mastery of 60's production techniques and modern dancefloor aesthetics for over a decade now, through a flowing blend of boogie-laced Funk, disco-primed Reggae, futuristic Soul, and timeless African rhythms. Originally released in 2013 ‘Curiosities’ is now available as a DJ friendly double LP for the first time. Soundway Records completes the Lord Echo album collection, finally reissuing the second album in the trilogy from Lord Echo.
A diverse, yet grounded LP chock full of head-turning sounds, ‘Curiosities’ further pushes Lord Echo's repertoire into the realm of the inimitable, and is sure to pique the interest of discerning music lovers from down-under to the big apple.
‘Curiosities’ picks up right where ‘Melodies’ 2010 left off, with the sun-drenched psychedelic dub sounds of tracks like "Bohemian Idol" (featuring vocals by Toby Laing of Fat Freddy's Drop), and the jerky funk vibes of cuts like "Digital Haircut" and "Street Knowledge". The album provides a wealth of DJ fodder, with forward thinking 70s-inspired disco tunes such as "Molten Lava" (featuring the soaring vocals of Leila Adu), as well as analog Afro-infused burners like "What Is That Feeling" and "Put It In My Head" (complemented by the golden-voiced Mara TK of Electric Wire Hustle fame). Down-home spiritual jazz/electronic meanderings ("Ghost Hands", "Arabesque") provide a counterpoint to Echo's driving cover-version of the Pharoah Sanders & Leon Thomas classic "The Creator Has a Master Plan". His inspiring take on the track is uplifted by the soulful singing of Lisa Tomlins (who's notable vocals on Echo's rendition of Sister Sledge's "Thinking Of You" made it a standout hit from his ‘Melodies’ album).
The finely-tuned collaborations throughout Curiosities underscore Lord Echo's pivotal position in the thriving New Zealand music scene. "I generally only work with people I know quite well personally", says Echo humbly. That personal and organic approach to creating his music is revealed as the album unfolds, layer by delectable layer. "I made this record primarily with DJs in mind," he continues. "They are generally people who really love music and are often obsessed with various aspects of it. I'm not making music for people for whom it's just some background noise in their lives, I'm making music for people for whom it IS their lives. And for better or worse, I guess I am one of those people."
The Easy Way Is Hard Enough
Model: MOON BROS
Release Date: 23 August 2019
2019 album. Americana. Also available on CD.
Strolling home after a gig one night in Chicago, Matthew Schneider (Moon Bros), was punched in the face by one young man, while another filmed the attack, presumably to post the video online. Though Schneider wasn’t knocked out in the attack, the assailants stole his prized electric guitar. Rather than sulking over his loss and victimhood, he took it as a sign to change direction and focus on acoustic guitar. This is the kind of person he is. In fact, he called it “the best day of his life.” His new album ‘The Easy Way Is Hard Enough’ raises a toast with the same glass-halffull outlook that Schneider has carried from his days as a young guitar prodigy in rural Illinois to his current status as a woodworker and carpenter in LA.
It’s difficult to follow the fragmented life and musicianship of Matthew Schneider. His twofold path has always embraced both an abiding love for Chet Atkins and Nashville session virtuosity, and a begrudging though fruitful flirtation with Chicago’s post-rock underground and middle ground. So many finger-style virtuosos fall into one trap or another; bad production, hollow showboating, predictable influences, but Schneider bypasses all the tropes. In doing so, he gives the subgenre back to the weirdos, rendering it more palatable and listenable than it has been since the early ‘70s.
On album opener “OO Bub” the drum machine abruptly switches on, doing its best impression of a chugging steam-engine, and ‘‘The Easy Way Is Hard Enough’ begins. Over the rhythm, Schneider’s notes roll skilfully and effortlessly into one another aside joyous howls and grinning harmonica. As the song quietly sputters out, “Footsteps” appears on its heels with zero hesitation. Gorgeous, finger-tapped fractals of 12-string guitar tessellate outward and back in, while a pedal-steel acts as a gentle barrier to it all like water lapping against a stoney wall in some quiet corner of a lake. “Temporary Thoughts” pulls the contemplative vibe back out, and Schneider’s lyrics show up here at the very middle of the album, fashionably late, but welcome nonetheless. Any time he sings it’s brief and respectful to his guitar playing, adding to his string-band tapestry rather than hoisting into the foreground and blocking the view.
By the time ‘The Easy Way Is Hard Enough’ reaches “Okie” the river rapids have emptied out into a moonlit cove in one of the most passive, yet most brooding moments on the record. Here Schneider pulls off what the best psychedelic-era acoustic records do: the subtle blend of blues with the minor key drones and flutters of Indian classical ragas that led to a new form of contemplative music for the counterculture of the late 1960s and beyond. Schneider doesn’t just dust it off and call it his own, rather he coaxes it from his chakras, paying no mind to those oversimple idioms and their qualifiers. Continuing the quietude, more spirographic fretwork winds down to a gradual close with “Nasty Fresh” concluding the punctual and introspective journey that is The Easy Way is Hard Enough, a suite of adept guitar vignettes that prioritize heart over skill, yet possess a wealth of both.
“…imagine late-period Byrds sharing stimulants with Scott Tuma and you’re in the ballpark.” Magnet
"…has a quavering emotional tenderness, and it's how I imagine Thom Yorke would sound, if only he was an American carpenter living out in the sticks surrounded by Bill Fay records.” Drowned In Sound
Feed the Wolf
Model: MISS VELVET AND THE BLUE WOLF
Release Date: 23 August 2019
2019 album. Features George Clinton on 4 tracks. Funk, soul, Rhythm & Blues. Also available on Vinyl.
Fronted by the genre defying powerhouse lead vocalist Miss Velvet and featuring a rhythm and brass section comprised of some of America’s leading studio musicians, Miss Velvet and The Blue Wolf - a dynamic 8-piece New York-based band that brings a vital and original dimension to the funk/ soul scene, combining catchy horns with soaring vocals and a driving rock undercurrent. - has been garnering rave reviews for their highly accomplished musicianship and on-stage flair. ‘Feed the Wolf’ features eight new songs, which were written and arranged by the band is the follow-up album to the band’s highly acclaimed debut of 2015, ‘Bad Get Some’ and features the legendary Parliament Funkadelic frontman George Clinton guesting on 4 tracks.
Miss Velvet and the Blue Wolf, have an ‘in your face, badass’ sound has been described as ‘if the 70’s band Chicago and Led Zeppelin had a baby with Janis Joplin, you would get Miss Velvet and the Blue Wolf.’ Miss Velvet may be tall, thin and blond, but her epic voice thrills with the unlikely sound of James Brown, Steven Tyler, and Joe Cocker with the soulfulness of Janice and Etta James, taking the listener on a journey back to the days of psychedelic rock and funk.
In a review of ‘Bad Get Some’ the Huffington Post said, “Miss Velvet and The Blue Wolf are cap-a-pie prodigiously talented. The melodies are phenomenal, the rhythms are combustible and Miss Velvet’s voice contradicts the non-existence of the phlogiston.”
The band has performed over 100 concerts opening for George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic (2018-2019). The iconic worldwide tour has seen them play before SRO audiences across the States, Europe, Asia and Australia. Miss Velvet and the Blue Wolf have headlined at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, Tallinn Music Week, Jogevatreff Festival, Auguustibluus Festival (all in Estonia) and concerts in Riga, Helsinki and Tallinn. The Band is also a favourite and regular throughout the New York concert circuit.
Brighter Days (Purple vinyl)
Model: ROBERT RANDOLPH AND THE FAMILY BAND
Release Date: 23 August 2019
The phenomenal American blues, funk and soul group that is Robert Randolph and the Family Band are back with their new album ‘Brighter Days’ - which is the follow-up to the Grammy-nominated 2017’s ‘Got Soul’ album - and may be Robert Randolph and the Family Band’s best, most diverse album yet. Rooted in gospel and blues, and branching into rock and soul, it is the sound of a veteran artist sure of himself and confident enough to spread his wings.
Led by pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph, a virtuoso on the pedal steel guitar, Robert jumped from spiritual music - he started playing the instrument as a churchgoing teenager in Orange, New Jersey, a small city just outside of Newark - to secular music and found an audience among blues fans, roots rock aficionados, and jam band followers with his fiery, passionate instrumental work and heartfelt music.
The first three songs of ‘Brighter Days’ are a full dive back to Randolph’s gospel roots, starting with lead track “Baptise Me”, a joyous romp of a song that makes a direct connection between religious and musical ecstasy and salvation. “We wrote ‘Baptize Me’ the first day in the studio.” Says Robert “It’s really a love story, about an all-round love: for each other, for our audience, for our church background, for the music we love and for our fans. All of these songs kind of harken back to how we started, to being known as this musical family band that comes from the church and appeals to rock, blues, gospel and soul music audiences. We wanted that good gospel, blues, R&B feel, because that’s where we started and it’s good to not only remind people of that but to actively remember it ourselves.”
“The Family Band” Is not just a name meant to evoke connections of togetherness. They are an actual family; the group that supports Randolph is anchored by his cousins, bassist Danyel Morgan and drummer Marcus Randolph and his sister, vocalist Lenesha Randolph.Given his goals for the album, it’s fitting that the lone cover song Robert selected for the collection comes from Pops Staples and the Staples Singers, one of gospel’s greatest musical families, who seamlessly crossed over to secular R&B success with inspirational songs like “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There.” Their “Simple Man” is a deep, contemplative blues, its pensive nature amplified by Randolph’s signature weeping pedal steel guitar lines.
The album was produced by Dave Cobb, known for his acclaimed and award-winning production of albums by Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, and the "A Star Is Born" soundtrack. “Dave Cobb is just a guy who likes to record good music and good songs,” says Randolph. “He wanted to do something that was fun but it also gives you a gospel feeling. He knows the history of our band, coming from church and giving that fun church feeling to people.
Model: SHANNON LAY
Release Date: 23 August 2019
2019 album. Singer/songwriter. Also available on Vinyl.
Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Shannon Lay is releasing her new album ‘August’ the title of which refers to the month in 2017 when Lay quit her day job and fully gave herself over to music a mix of transcendent folk-pop. This was her liberation as an artist and the album is devoted to paying that forward to her listeners. Lay may be the most chilled-out artist you’ll ever meet. Despite fronting her tranquil solo act and being a guitarist/singer in the indie-rock band Feels, she never pressures herself to over achieve. Nonetheless, she regularly does: in a glowing review, Pitchfork anointed her last album, ‘Living Water’, “captivating. ”Think of ‘August’ as a warm hug for your psyche. “I want to create as much music as I can,” Shannon says, “and leave this spot by the river where people can go sit and enjoy.”
There is an entire sub-genre of poetry devoted to rivers and their persistent, meditative flow. Emily Dickinson’s ‘My River Runs to Thee’ compares them to the cycle of life, while Alfred Tennyson’s ‘The Brook’ deems them eternal and Kathleen Raine’s ‘The River’ muses on the dream-state they evoke. For transcendent folk pop artist Shannon Lay, the river is all of the above: It’s the metaphor driving her latest album, the exquisitely uplifting ‘August’, which doubles as an aural baptism renewing her purpose for making music. “I always picture music as this river. Everyone’s throwing things into this river, it’s a place you can go to and feed off of that energy,” she says, “and feel nourished by the fact that so many people are feeling what you’re feeling. It’s this beautiful exchange.”
‘August’ was mostly written in three months, during Lay’s first solo tour for ‘Living Water’. “For the most part, all of the songs were just guitar and voice,” she says. In keeping with the humbled, contemplative nature of ‘August’, most tracks clock-in at three minutes or less. She saved indulgence for the production. “Some songs as they were had this room to grow,” says Lay, who recorded the album with her longtime friend, musician Ty Segall at his home studio on the East Side. “I believe whoever you record with tends to affect the mood of music and Ty really brought this jovial sense that I hadn’t really explored yet,” she says. Also in the mix is Mikal Cronin, who played saxophone on the album’s opener, ‘Death Up Close’. “A lot of myfriends who are really tough have admitted that they shed a tear when they hear my songs, and I think that really speaks to the visceral aspect of folk music,” Lay says. “It’s this ancient form of expressing yourself.”
Songs From The Exile
Model: DALTON DOMINO
Release Date: 23 August 2019
2019 album. Country singer/songwriter.
Dalton Domino is a gritty blend of energetic Southern Rock, Red Dirt and Texas Country from Lubbock TX and is releasing his masterful new album entitled ’Songs From The Exile’. For Dalton, music was always present. The way artists of all stripes, from punk rockers to traditional country artists, could convey a simple or complex truth with a simple turn of phrase caught his imagination from an early age. Creativity and an appreciation for song has been an evolution for Domino. Raised on punk music, Conor Oberst, and classic country, Domino writes songs that are both fresh and familiar, nodding to the western-shirted troubadours who came before him while still making room for heartland roots-rock, atmospheric Americana, and the autobiographical lyrics of a songwriter who isn't afraid to shine a light upon his own demons. And he is as described by Rolling Stone “A Country artist you need to know”.
He chases the muse into his darkest territory yet with his third record, ‘Songs From The Exile’. Written during a period of closeted addiction and released during the clear-eyed clarity of Domino's sobriety, his new album mixes hope with heartache, melody with melancholy. It's an album about the damage we sometimes inflict upon ourselves, with 13 clutter-free country songs that were recorded during a series of live takes. The lush, layered arrangements that filled Domino's sophomore release, ‘Corners’, are gone, replaced by a lyrically-driven sound laced with light touches of guitar, pedal steel, piano, drums, and bass. The result is the most direct album of Domino's career — an album that focuses not upon the presentation, but upon the frank songwriting and compelling singing that's always been at the core of Dalton Domino's music.
Although written at home during a period he describes as "my own personal rock bottom," ‘Songs From The Exile’ also finds Domino finally conquering the demons that have plagued him throughout a critically-acclaimed career. "I learned that the mistakes and ghosts of the past are okay to befriend," he says of the songwriting process. "They are what make you who you are today. This record is a collection of songs that are about specific moments in my life where I felt wronged — where I did things that were wrong — and I wrote it alone, in exile, during a year I spent learning how to look the things that kept me prisoner in the eye and let them go. I learned gratitude. I learned how to forgive.”
A staple of Texas' music scene for years, Domino headed out of town to record 'Songs From The Exile', setting up shop at a friend's studio, Dauphin Street Sound, in Mobile, AL. He brought along an all-star studio band, too, including guitarist Doug Pettibone (John Mayer, Lucinda Williams), drummer Brad Rice (Ryan Adams, Jason Boland), and additional musicians who, collectively, had backed Texas luminaries like Pat Green, Aaron Watson, and Wade Bowen. Together, they recorded stripped-down ballads ("Happy Alone"), breakup songs ("The Nerve"), family tributes ("Daddy's Mud"), and shuffling country numbers ("Better Now"). It was a compelling mix, without any unnecessary overdubs diluting the music's emotional punch.
Born in Memphis, Domino was raised on a steady diet of varying musical genres, ranging from George Jones to Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. He proudly recalls his grandmother walking around the house singing church hymns. As a teenager he gravitated towards the punk-rock scene, playing in bands, drawn in by the speed “and the rawness of the lyrics.” But not until he moved to Lubbock, however, and started frequenting the Blue Light in the city’s historic Depot District, did Domino find his true voice as a songwriter.
“The singer-songwriter seamlessly blends Lone Star State influences, red dirt country and Southern rock into his own unique and intricately layered sound.” The Boot
Beyond the Door
Model: REDD KROSS
Release Date: 23 August 2019
2019 album also available on CD.
‘Beyond The Door’ is the new release from the quintessential Los Angeles based band who invite you to explore beyond the door, an album inspired by the band’s “total commitment to having the best f*cking time we can have while we’re all still here” (what they like to call “the Party”). It’s a rock and roll record and a celebration of everything brothers Jeff and Steven McDonald love, from cultures both high and low. Redd Kross -formed of Jeff and Steven McDonald - exist at the sweet spot where punk, metal, and bubblegum meet and since they began in the late '70s and the album musically is guitars, bass, and drums topped with a generous portion of sweet vocal melodies often delivered with an ambiguous edge.
‘Beyond the Door’ marks Redd Kross’ most collaborative record to date. Steven describes this evolution: “Jeff is still very much the driving force behind the compositions, but with more help from me than ever. Jeff and I haven’t shared this much of the writing and singing since ‘Born Innocent’ in 1981.” Guitarist Jason Shapiro and drummer Dale Crover (Melvins, OFF!) are longtime members of the Redd Kross live band, but this album marks the pair’s recorded debut with the group.
Mixed in Los Angeles by Steven McDonald, Beyond the Door includes notable guest appearances from Anna Waronker (That Dog), Geré Fennelly, Buzz Osborne (Melvins), and Josh Klinghoffer. Setting the stage is album opener “The Party,” a raucous cover of the Henry Mancini-penned title theme from a 1968 Blake Edwards film. The opening line of the song (“The party is groovy and everyone here loses control, yeah…”) is the perfect declaration Redd Kross want to make—and they don’t just mean some beer-guzzling teen hesher affair, either. The Redd Kross party is groovy, yeah… Just listen!
Of title track “Beyond the Door” Steven recounts, “I started the track as just a fun glitter romp, and during tracking, Jeff decided to take a stab at writing the vocal melody and lyrics. Seems like an obvious way to work, but we’ve never done it before. From that came a tale of childhood obsession with demonic possession nurtured on TV brain junk food and the golden age of rock and roll, 1971–73.”
On the surface, the album title is a playful reference to an Italian horror film the McDonald brothers watched as children, a loose rip-off of both The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby that stars Juliet Mills of ’70s television program Nanny and the Professor. But like all things Redd Kross, it would be a sad injustice to stop digging there. No one knows what lies Beyond the Door… but we’re all in front of it. Inspirations as varied as K-pop, glitter gangs, embarrassed tweens, long-term relationships, a mysterious character named Fantástico Roberto, and much more all contributed to ‘Beyond the Door’, an album that lures the listener into Redd Kross’ secret club full of riddles and inside jokes, with the ultimate reward of the perfect pop moment!
Model: TROPICAL FUCK STORM
Release Date: 23 August 2019
2019 album. Rock. Also available on Vinyl.
‘Braindrops’ is the highly anticipated second album from Tropical Fuck Storm, the menacing and broody Melbourne based Australian band following only 1.5 years after their critically acclaimed debut LP ‘A Laughing Death in Meatspace’. ‘Braindrops’ is a jarring and exhilarating experience, full of pulsating grooves, black humour, dissonant experimentation, and unsettling dystopian plot-lines. It is an unrelenting work, from an unrelenting musical ensemble. “Tropical Fuck Storm is a full on thing,” Liddiard offers. “Everything we do, we do it to the death.”
Tropical Fuck Storm were formed around 2017 in the city of Melbourne, Victoria along Australia’s south-eastern coast. The band released their debut long-player on Joyful Noise Recordings in 2018. Each of the band’s four members bring considerable experience to the group. Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin were part of the long-running and critically-acclaimed act The Drones, while Erica Dunn and Lauren Hammel have performed in a variety of well-received projects. Perhaps it’s that wealth of rock and roll experience that allows Tropical Fuck Storm to so expertly deconstruct and distort the genre’s norms.
“I've invented fake news as a genre of music,” Gareth Liddiard observes with a laugh. He’s talking about “Maria 63”, the closing track on Tropical Fuck Storm’s sophomore LP ‘Braindrops’. The song takes aim at the once-marginalized alt-right conspiracy theories that now seem to be a driving force behind the rise of fascism in global politics. “It’s about a Mossad agent traveling to Buenos Aires to assassinate Maria Orsic, a Nazi witch who telepathically got the blueprints for warp drive engines from aliens,” Liddiard shares.
“It may be the most stupid song ever written,” Liddiard jokes. He’s wrong, “Maria 63” is emblematic of Tropical Fuck Storm’s keen ability to mine the extreme edge of pop culture’s periphery for potent musical and conceptual spice. ‘Braindrops’ overflows with compelling sounds and visions that reflect the often dark and fractured reality of life on planet Earth as we hurtle toward environmental and social decay at a frighteningly rapid clip.
“Everything we do, we try to do it in a weird way. The whole album is full of weird beats, and just weird shit everywhere,” Liddiard explains. He cites Doc at the Radar Station-era Captain Beefheart as a key sonic touchstone, and Braindrops certainly shares the Captain’s penchant for pounding abstract grooves. Tropical Fuck Storm have achieved a uniquely off-kilter sound on ‘Braindrops’. Liddiard partly credits this to the group’s use of unconventional equipment, “We use lots of techno gear to make rock and roll because rock and roll gear is boring, and all sounds like Led Zeppelin.”
Liddiard’s own description of Tropical Fuck Storm’s sound is nearly as interesting and evocative as the music itself. He describes the LP’s title track as “Fela Kuti in a car crash,” and talks of creating a sonic atmosphere that “sounds like chloroform smells” for “Maria 62”. Liddiard can be a bit more taciturn when asked to get specific on the group’s lyrical themes. “It's not always a good idea to be too straightforward.” Instead Liddiard favors a “more nebulous and mysterious” approach.
A recurring theme on ‘Braindrops’ concerns the various ways the human brain can be manipulated and controlled for exploitative gain. The bracing “The Planet of Straw Men” is a study of human behavior inside the social media comments section, a place where otherwise reasonable people are seen gleefully engaging in psychotic chest-thumping rhetoric. “It's about everyone having a screaming match,” Liddiard says. “You see two people yelling at each other on Twitter, but they're not really yelling at each other, they're yelling at each other's idea of the other. Meanwhile countries like Russia are taking advantage of this to push their ideologies and get ahead.” Erica Dunn’s “Who’s My Eugene?” contemplates a more personal example of predatory mind control. “It's about Eugene Landy, the doctor that drugged the shit out of Brian Wilson and emptied his bank account,” Liddiard explains.
While Liddiard is careful not to give away too much about the band’s lyrics, he’s confident that audiences will find their own meaning. “If you show a gorilla Hamlet, even if he was capable of reading it, he wouldn't be capable of seeing himself in it. But with humans that's kind of what we do. We have our heads up our own asses.”
Model: NEW MODEL ARMY
Release Date: 23 August 2019
2019 album. Also available on CD.
Formed in Bradford in 1980, New Model Army’s beginnings were inspired by Northern Soul, Punk Rock and the incendiary atmosphere of the times. Since then, they have had a long, creative and eventful journey. They have been massively influential in ‘post-punk’, ‘folk-rock’, ‘political-rock’, ‘goth’, ‘metal’ and all kinds of musical sub-cultures but they have steadfastly refused to belong to any club or style. Members have changed over the years and musical styles have evolved but at the heart of the band Justin has remained, along with a distinct and sincere belief in the power of music to inspire and effect change on both a personal and political scale, locally and globally.
“It is often said that the album is dead. We don’t believe this is true” – Justin, Michael, Dean, Marshall and Ceri. ‘From Here’ was recorded earlier on the tiny Norwegian island of Giske at the beautiful Ocean Sound Recordings studio and reflects the spectacular isolation of that environment yet has profound messages for the world we all live in and the times we are experiencing. “We all have different lives and different tastes in almost everything, including music”, say the band. “One thing we have in common is the love of bleak, open, cold, rugged landscapes – water, snow, rock. So this was the perfect place for us to work on something collectively”.
The album was mostly written in just two months and recorded in only nine days and is the follow up on the two hugely acclaimed albums Between Dog And Wolf (2013) and Winter (2016). New Model Army decided to work again with Lee Smith and Jamie Lockhart, with whom they have developed a productive relationship over a few years and who persuaded them to leave a lot of the details of the music to spontaneity. “This album has a feel that is different to our other albums, but it still contains all the elements that characterise our peculiarly unidentifiable music – perhaps even more than ever. And ‘From Here’ was an obvious title. The record belongs to a very special place and a particular time – what is happening in the world, where we are as a band and where we are as people.”